Saturday, August 26, 2017

Music does not age .... live forever

"The devil drives"

People and their priorities sometimes puzzle me. Perhaps, I should rephrase that: Individuals and their priorities often mystify me. Yes, that is better.

I recently watched the film, "The November Man." It was made in 2014 (very recent, by my standards) and is based on a 1987 novel (sort of recent, by my ....) written by Bill Granger, a newspaper man turned novelist. In the movie, there is an exchange of dialogue between Peter Devereaux (a sort of retired CIA operative whose code name was November, played by Pierce Brosnan) and Arkady Federov (the Russian president­-elect and a former Russian general, portrayed by Lazar Ristovski, a "famous" Serbian actor). Also in the scene is Olga Kurylenko (a Ukrainian-born actress who plays Mira Filipova impersonating Alice Fournier, and who shared the spotlight with Daniel Craig in the James Bond film, "Quantum of Solace").

While the dialogue is going on, Devereaux is holding a revolver with a single round in it (a single bullet, to interpret for the uninitiated) on Federov, spinning the cylinder, asking a question of Federov and, if he does receive an answer, pulling the trigger. The exercise is a variation of Russian Roulette. The end result is, almost always, a death. So then, here is the dialogue:

Devereaux: Nineteen ninety-nine. You supported an American operation to impersonate Chechen terrorists. Who was the American agent who ran it?

Federov: You are sit (sic) on my shirt.

Devereaux to Fournier, handing her a second handgun: Mira, take this. Shoot him if you have to.

Federov: You are not going to kill me.

Devereaux: That's for you to decide. We're gonna play a little game that I believe was invented in your country. I'll ask you once more. Who was the American agent?

(As he is speaking, Devereaux places a single round in the revolver and spins the cylinder. When he receives no response from Federov, Devereaux pulls the trigger. There is an audible click as the hammer falls on an empty chamber of the cylinder. Devereaux again spins the cylinder.)

Devereaux: I'll ask you again. Was it Weinstein? Hmm?

(Again, Federov does not respond and again Devereaux pulls the trigger. And again, there is an audible click as the hammer falls on an empty chamber of the cylinder. Devereaux again spins the cylinder.)

Devereaux: Come on! You piece of shit! Your odds are running out. Who was the American agent? Was it Weinstein?

Federov: Hanley.

Devereaux: John Hanley .... Hanley?

Federov: Yeah.

(Devereaux is disbelieving. He takes a photograph showing himself and two other men from his pocket and holds it in front of Federov's face.)

Devereaux: Was it this guy? The guy in the middle?

(Federov points to the Hanley. Fournier sees the photograph and confirms Federov's identification.)

Fournier: No. Peter. That's him. The bald guy.

Devereaux: Shh, shh ....

Now, what mystifies me is why someone would or how someone could be concerned with the condition of their shirt when confronted by a known CIA assassin, who in all probability will kill him within minutes? Is this the ultimate "ubermensch" or is it someone in dire need of psychiatric help?

More importantly, perhaps, is why this "incident" should amount to more than a random thought passing through my mind, rather than turning into a point of fascination. I suppose it is because, as I mentioned at the beginning of this piece, the priorities people have often mystify me.

And, as I frequently have written in previous posts, I am driven by an intense and an immense curiosity.

And, why is that? As William Shakespeare and a few others both before him and since him noted and have written, I suppose the answer is because "the devil drives."   

By the way (I love to write those three words), although it is made clear again and again in the film that he truly is an evil man, Federov does leave the room alive .... but, he does not escape eventual retribution. The final scene in the movie shows him on a multi­­­-million dollar yacht anchored a few hundred yards offshore in an unnamed sea. He is accompanied by a few beautiful women and he is drinking (presumably) vodka. Abruptly, a bullet rips through his head and his body falls over the rail of the yacht and disappears into the depths of (Homer's) wine-dark sea.

Whoever actually fired the shot is not shown, but there is a probable candidate and two distant possibles ....


ANITA said...

Hello and goodmorning Fram from Norway.Its a pleasure to see you have opened for comments..Love the music!!
I was curious about a line you mentioned in another post .. Had to google Alfred Tennyson..What great poetry!The Lady of Shalott (1842)
BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON" .(Why do you know such great authors?)
The movie you write about I have not heard about.So I can not debate it..Sorry about that!
Well the blogs Fram!it seems to me you are drifting away from it..and it is a little bit sad..An era of life is about to end..So I also think to my self..I do not care to look of nada of the blogs..Any more..Its all the same shit over and over again.Getting me nowhere..Or..Its probably me its something wrong with hah..But and only but.May be something new is coming up...You inspire me.

I shall not be long....Ihope you are well..Have fine folks around you..look at good movies read awsome nice books..and whatever makes your life happy and of course Buddy!xxx

I will end this little note with some words I recently did understand the meaning of..
Semper fidelis.."Always and Everywhere Faithful"

Love Anita

Fram Actual said...

Yes, Anita, since I will be home for a week or two, I will be able to keep an eye on things here and to respond in a more timely manner. As for the music, I never have been an Elvis Presley fan, but much of the world idolizes him, so I take it much of the world sees something in him that I have not .... I surrender .... why should I fight the worldview about Elvis? As for the Russian National Anthem, I think it is a beautiful piece of music and I think there is nothing more wonderful than hearing a children's choir performing a beautiful piece of music.

Remember, I have both a bachelor's and a master's degree in English and my concentration was in literature, which includes both prose and poetry .... add to that, I always have been a voracious reader and consume books like some people consume candy. In terms of poetry, my addiction seems to center on dead poets:

Alfred, Lord Tennyson: "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar."
Robert Frost: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "Kubla Khan."

By the way, the Homer I mentioned is the Homer who wrote "The Odyssey" and "The Iliad." He frequently uses "wine-dark sea" to describe the waters sailed by Odysseus and the "old Greeks" -- at least it is that way in the E.V. Rieu translation of "The Odyssey."

As for the film and for the novel upon which it was based, I have not read the book, but I have learned it is very different from the movie. I may read it, but I might not .... it depends on a number of variables, including my curiosity. The post itself could have (should have) been much more concise and written considerably better.

As for the sea of blogs, time will tell if either/both of us stays/stay with it or goes/go from it. Life is a series of interludes, some of which we control and some of which are beyond our influence. As for you, Anita, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you and do not ever think for a moment that there might be. If the stars were aligned just a bit differently, you probably would hear knocking at your door one day and, upon opening it, discover me standing there with candy and flowers.

Yes, Semper Fidelis .... it is a code to live by which makes the Marine Corps unique and, from my viewpoint, very much special. It sometimes is not an easy code to live by, but it provides a standard for testing physical and mental toughness and resolve -- which is a good thing.

I am off and running now -- literally. I resumed doing a bit of running while on the "road trip," and I want to keep it up. Take care and stay safe, Anita .... you are a special person .... Semper Fi ....

Kaya said...

Hello Fram,

I wasn't here for a long time. Only sometimes I stopped by to read a few of your posts. You know that I deleted my blog and left Google. Then after a few months I regretted it, andI tried to restore my blog. I restored it partially and hope you some day visit it. You are always welcome there.

My blog's address is In case if you will decide to stop by.

I hope everything is going well in your life, Fram.


PS By the way you were right about Tramp and I was foolishly naive...

Kaya said...

Misspelled the last name of "45", I meant Trump.

Fram Actual said...

The last two sentences of my Sunday horoscope were these: "Start living your life more fully. Give up thinking about plans, and take action."

Since I have been "on the road" in one form or another for nearly two months, Kaya, I am not certain how to interpret that message. I suppose, in a sense, my recent activities have been more of a distraction from life than actual involvement in it. And, I would be sailing under false colors if I replied that yes, everything is going well in my life. I am, essentially, simply existing while attempting to find a direction and to set a course. Anyway ....

I was not certain what had happened to you. I have tried going to your old blog now and then, always without success. I was not sure if you had vanished altogether or what. I will try again, using the address you left for me in your comment here, after I have a few hours of sleep and have run a few errands.

I think you were correct regarding El Presidente -- if not with the spelling of his name in your first comment here, at least with an apt description of his level of sophistication. I still find many of his ideas compelling, but his narcissism and arrogance are off the charts. I mute the television or change channels whenever I hear his voice or see his face. He seems to be self-destructing.

So, I am very pleased to see you back and very glad you left a few of your words for me. Thank you. I hope everything is going well in your life, Kaya ....

Kaya said...


I think I can help you to follow people with not a"blank" face. First, unfollow me and start the whole process again. Click on the "follow" button and look for the words " options" or "edit", or something like that. I hope that Google left for bloggers who are not on Google + these options.

If you still have the words "options " or "edit" click on them and you will see another little window and instead of your image there will be a "blank" face. You have again to download your picture with a wolf's face. If there is an option "save", click on it. And then you can click on "Done".

I wish you luck with it and hope that Google still have these options.

Fram Actual said...

Somehow (I do not know how or when or why), my wolf icon (I mean my personal image) vanished from the "Mystical, Mysterious Realm of Google." I followed your advice and, lo and behold, my glorious, handsome self is visible once again.

Thank you, Kaya ....

Marina Fligueira said...

¡Hola Fram!

¡Bienvenido de tus vacaciones, es un placer volver a comunicarnos, gracias este medio de los blogs!

E aquí el mito que nunca muere. El formidable, Elvis Presley.

Yo también estoy de vuelta de mis vacaciones.
Mañana día 1, sale una nueva entrada, la pondré esta próxima noche, pasada la media noche sobre las 12- 30 h. aquí en España.
Gracias mil por tu visita, un beso y se muy -muy feliz.

¡Hello, Fram!

Welcome to your holiday, is a pleasure to return to communicate, thank you this half of the blogs!

Here the myth that never dies. The formidable, Elvis Presley.

Fram! I am also back from my vacation. Tomorrow day 1, comes a new entry, I will put it this next night, past midnight on 12 - 30 o'clock here in Espana.gracias thousand for your visit. A kiss and was very very happy. a kiss and is very - very happy.

Liplatus said...

I like Elvis's music.
Sometimes I rarely listen.

It is good that a person takes responsibility for their life and activities and does not blame the devil.
I do not know English so well that I could talk more broadly.

Fram Actual said...

My excursion was more of an attempted escape from myself than it was an actual vacation, Marina. I was not altogether successful, but I did enjoy myself and a return to woodlands and to waterways can do wonders to lift sagging spirits and to renew physical strength. Nature does have the ability to heal -- it does for me, at least -- and, I am anxious to return to it.

I am happy you came to visit me at my blog, and I will look forward to seeing your new post. Thank you, Marina .... take care ....

Fram Actual said...

I never have been an actual fan of Elvis Presley, but there are some of his renditions of particular songs that I think are the best ever made of those songs and which I prefer above all other versions. This song, "Always on My Mind," is one of them.

Your knowledge of the English language is quite good, I think, Liplatus. Taking responsibility for one's words and one's deeds truly is a measure of one's character.

Thank you, for coming to visit my blog, and I soon will be on my way to see your latest post. Take care ....

Smareis said...

Olá Fram!
Como está, tudo bem?
Passei por alguma vezes aqui mais os comentários esteve fechado. Estive ausente da rede também, e só agora que resolvi atualizar.
Não assisti esse filme "The November Man". Me parece bom pela sua resenha.
Essa é umas das músicas que mais gosto do Elvis Presley "Always On My Mind". As novelas brasileira sempre tem trilha sonora com alguma música do Elvis. Em 2011 teve uma novela que fez muito sucesso aqui no Brasil, A novela chama INSENSATO CORAÇÃO e a trilha sonora era "Suspicious Minds" do Elvis.
Gosto também de "Can't Help Falling In Love" mais gosto na vós do Chris Isaak. Ficou mais bonita o arranjo.
Desejo que o mês de setembro seja de muitas bênçãos e alegria em sua vida.
Punhado de sorrisos!
Um ótimo fim de semana!

Fram Actual said...

I do not exactly have "miles to go before I sleep" -- to borrow a line from Robert Frost (I am very tired, and I almost wrote Jack Frost) -- but, it has been a long, long, difficult day and I am almost asleep as I sit at my computer .... and, I need to be up early in the morning. I will write a better reply to your comment during my Friday. See you then, Smareis ....

Marina Fligueira said...

Hola Fram!!!

Paso a dejar mi gratitud por tu bonita huella. Comentarte que estoy viendo este vídeo, ésta coral infantil preciosa. Vaya Voces maravillosas. Ha sido un inmenso placer escucharles, un aplauso prolongado para ellos.

Envidiable tu excursión, eso de andar entre bosque y aguas limpias, cristalinas, es súper saludable, las ciudades nos asfixian, me alegra que hayas disfrutado de la naturaleza.

Un beso para ti y ten un bello fin de semana
Se muy feliz.

¡Hello Fram!

Step to leave my gratitude for your beautiful footprint. Let know you that I'm watching this video, this coral precious child. Go wonderful voices. It has been an immense pleasure to listen to you, a warm welcome extended to them. Enviable your excursion, that walk between forest and clean, crystal waters is super healthy, the cities we stifle, I am glad that you enjoyed nature.
A kiss for you and have a beautiful very happy weekend

Fram Actual said...

Well, Smareis, if we decide to be absent from the sea of blogs for a while, I suppose it might as well be at the same time. It fact, it might be preferable when it turns out that way .... hmmmm ....

I very much enjoyed the film, "The November Man." It was light years away from being a "great" movie, but it was a good movie and it held my attention from beginning to end. Fewer and fewer films do that for me these days. I think the reason mostly is because I am changing in a number of ways -- becoming more mellow, some might suggest -- but, despite that tendency, I still love realistic, action movies.

Hey, I agree with you !! I really like the Elvis Presley renditions of "Suspicious Minds" and "Can't Help Falling in Love." Actually, I like the Keely Smith version of "can’t help" best .... but, there are some songs, including that one, I seem to like no matter who is performing them. The magic is in the song, so to speak, rather than in the performer.

Good luck, if you try to find the Keely version -- it seems to have vanished off the face of the earth.

And, I just listened to Chris Isaak do it .... I guess I still will have to side with Elvis on that tune, although Isaak seems to have a better grasp of how it should be done.

September has very different meanings for me than for you. When I was in high school and college, it meant football (American style) and hunting. I still enjoy football and I still am a "gun nut," but I have not hunted for years, and I doubt that I ever will again. Now, I try to enjoy the September weather -- the last remnants of summer -- and try to avoid thinking about the long, dark, icy cold winter months soon to follow.

But, just for you, I will try to concentrate on the good things in my life and be happy I still am here after the many misadventures I have experienced and managed to walk away from still standing.

So, take care and stay safe, Smareis. I wish you health-luck, money-luck, love-luck and that you always walk in sunlight ....

Fram Actual said...

I am pleased that you enjoy your visits here, Marina. It is the same for me when I "travel" to your blog.

All aspects of outdoor life always have been important to me in terms of contentment and peace of mind. I have camped during all four seasons, and learned to appreciate the advantages and to live with the disadvantages of each. Walking on a frozen lake beneath a full moon with the sound of the ice loudly cracking beginning hundreds of yards away -- then moving rapidly toward you, then passing beneath you, then moving on and on away from you -- creates experiences and emotions which are beyond description.

City life has its benefits, but I am a woods and a water boy at heart, and I always will be ....

You, too, Marina .... I wish you a happy weekend and a most enjoyable September ....

Smareis said...

Espero que você não se afaste do seu blog, suas postagens são boas e você escreve muito bem.
"The November Man" me parece um filme interessante. Tem cenas de ação algumas bem violentas...Estava vendo algumas cenas no YouTube e lendo algumas criticas ao filme. Há um lado político bastante forte, por mais que ele apareça sob uma certa maquiagem. Por outro lado, há um aspecto bem interessante no roteiro ao apresentar a própria CIA como um elemento importante na conspiração, assumindo um ar de imperfeição que faz com que Peter fique contra o próprio sistema que o criou. Entretanto, por mais que traga uma certa ousadia, o diretor Roger Donaldson está mais interessado em produzir sequências de ação do que propriamente em refletir sobre o mundo da espionagem.

Não achei a versão da Keely Smith no YouTube. Não está disponivel lá.
Achei a versão Can't Help Falling In Love With You com Chris Isaak, inclusive tem outra tambem do Elvis "It's Now or Never". . Gosto muito da interpretação do Chris Isaak.

Setembro aqui começa com muito calor, hoje ainda esta fresco, mais daqui pra frente é só temperatura alta até março do próximo ano. Brasil é um país tropical, muito calor.
Desejo tudo de bom pra você Fram. Que setembro seja um mês muito bom pra você. Espero que não tenha muito frio por ai nesse inverno. Eu gosto muito de bosque, montanhas.

Desejo muita saúde, paz, alegria nesse setembro.
Um bom fim de semana lhe desejo.

Fram Actual said...

I have barely returned, and I already am wondering why I do not abandon my blog and move along and away from it, Smareis. We shall see. I do still hope to find another "incarnation" before I fade off into oblivion.

Life is short ....
I become easily bored ....
I seem to require constant change ....

There, that is my thought for the day.

The CIA does have a sordid history and continues to be involved with internal games. Many of those games are "known unspoken secrets," but some are deeply buried in lies and deception. I have had contact with it from time to time and, from my point of view, nothing about the agency is beyond the scope of reality. A man named Robert Littell wrote a fascinating book entitled, "The Company." It is a long book, published in 2002, and covers the CIA from its origin until the dawn of the twenty-first century. It is a work of fiction, but much of it is rooted in real events -- actual history. A three-part miniseries based on the book was made in 2007 and is available on DVD.

As a side note, the first American killed in Afghanistan was a CIA contractor. The CIA has had and still has agents and contractors anywhere in the world where shooting is going on, and in many places where it is not. The reality of politics is no different than the realm of religion -- zealots and gamblers rise to the leadership roles. The CIA office here in the Twin Cities once had 007 as the last three digits of its telephone number, which illustrates the mindset of the organization. The office, incidentally, was in the "federal building," but out of visible sight in the rear of a large, basement room being used for storing office supplies and other odds and ends. Most people did not know it existed.

And, yes, your observations are astute and are correct about the film, "The November Man." Perhaps, it is this mixture of politics and ruthlessness and gunplay and human relationships that appeal to me, and why it was able to hold my attention from beginning to end .... yes, perhaps ....

Back to the music: I have a few songs by Keely Smith on records that belonged to my mother, and a number of operatic and classical pieces that were in my step-father's collection. He introduced me to "that sort of stuff" when I was a teenager. I am glad that he liked it, played it and, in a manner of speaking, passed it on to me.

Your link led me to the same rendition of, "Can't Help Falling in Love," by Chris Isaak that I listened to yesterday; as for, "It's Now or Never," I prefer the Elvis version of that one, too. I guess that makes the score: Smareis, two votes for Chris .... Fram, two votes for Elvis. It could be a matter that Elvis songs are frequent on classic rock radio (where I "live" in terms of radio music), while I actually do not recall ever hearing any songs there by Chris.

This note is so lengthy, I have been informed that I have to break it into two pieces .... imagine that ....

Fram Actual said...

Here we are, Smareis, with the continuation of the note:

Shifting gears and heading way, way far out into the "outer limits," I was fascinated when I first realized that a man was the singer of, "I Will Always Love You," in the film, "The Bodyguard," in the scene where Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner were dancing to it in a "saloon" as it played on a jukebox. It took me a long time searching to discover a man named John Nommensen Duchac, known professionally as John Doe, was the singer. Actually, his is my favorite version of the song. Anyway .... do you see how I get stuck on obscure, weird things now and then .... sort of like the Russian Roulette piece in, "The November Man" .... ????

Temperatures the first two weeks or so of September usually range from mild to hot here, which is nice to my way of thinking, but everyone knows snow and cold air will not be far behind, which makes the month sort of a sad one in my eyes. January and February generally are the most punishing. I might try to escape them this year .... maybe/maybe/maybe ....

This is getting to be very long .... I should save it and use it as a post .... but, instead, I will close it with an echo of the words you wrote for me, Smareis:

I wish much health, peace, joy in September.
Have a good weekend, I wish you well.

Smareis said...

Às vezes por impulso a gente abandona ou exclui o blog e depois se arrepende Fram. Isso já aconteceu comigo em várias ocasiões. Exclui dois dos meus blogs que eu mais gostava em 2004, era num provedor pago, o BLOG UOL, e me arrependo até hoje.
Às vezes é melhor dar um tempo no blog, deixar fechado para visitas do que excluir. Tem dia que não tenho a mínima vontade de escrever no blog, mais depois de dias e semana sem atualizar acabo voltando e atualizando.

Eu também Fram me aborreço muito fácil, fico sem paciência às vezes, por pequenas coisas. Eu já fui mais paciente, hoje nem tanto. Minha sensibilidade às vezes não dá conta.

Não conhecia o trabalho musical do John Doe. Esta versão é maravilhosa, muito boa, tem uma voz agradável. Versão melhor que a Whitney Houston. Lia que o original "I Will Always Love You" era da cantora Dolly Parton, que escreveu a música também. Sempre achei que essa canção era da Whitney Houston.

Imagine quantos são os segredos jamais revelados que a CIA esconde. Realidade que as pessoas nem imagina que existem. Deve ser bem curioso esse livro “The Company”.

Aqui no Brasil a música do Chris Isaak é bem tocada creio que mais do que Elvis. Na verdade os dois são excelentes cantores.
Não conhecia John Doe, a versão de “I will always love you” ficou excelente, muito boa, melhor que a versão da Whitney Houston. Sempre achei que a versão original era da Whitney Houston. Depois eu lia que a versão original “i will always love you” era de uma cantora chamada Dolly Parton. Não conheço essa cantora.

Às vezes uma música é regravada e a gente nem fica sabendo que a original já foi gravada bem antes.
Desejo que setembro seja muito bom pra você. E... Nem pense em abandonar seu blog. Continue escrevendo e deixe a vida seguir...
“A vida é breve, mas cabe nela muito mais do que somos capazes de viver.” (José Saramago).
Boa semana Fram!
Um punhado de sorrisos!

Fram Actual said...

I have two posts that once were scheduled, but I decided at the last minute not to run them. This was a few years ago, Smareis. I also have written at least a dozen that never made it to the point of scheduling and still are somewhere on my computer. I doubt I could find them now .... at least not without a lengthy, time-consuming search. But, I never actually have deleted a post once it had been published .... and, I very much doubt I ever will ....

I cannot recall ever hearing the name John Nommensen Duchac or the name John Doe before I found them in relation to the song, "I Will Always Love You," -- yet, this man has been around making music since the mid-1970s. The reason I never encountered him is because he has been associated with "punk rock," which absolutely turns me off. He co-founded and continues to be a member of the Los Angeles punk band X. (Yes, just plain X.) The band has appeared on late night television shows a number of times and has several albums to its credit. Doe also has performed on television and in films as an actor. What can I say ???? I wish he would perform more songs like "always love you."

I was aware Dolly Parton wrote and recorded the song. She is (was) a huge country music star. Linda Ronstadt also recorded it and, of course, Whitney Houston. Anyway, John Doe sings it best .... more emotion, more feeling, I think .... and, his rendition will be in my next sort of post .... which might make it to publication in an hour or two ....

I read, "The Company," a year after it first was printed, and began re-reading it during the spring of 2012. I did not complete it the second time. I think I might give it another run now. I have watched the miniseries three or four times on television, and finally bought a DVD copy to use for reference. There are elements in it which keep me spellbound. Sometime, when you are in the appropriate mood, do an internet search on the name Gerry Patrick Hemming.

Yes, for sure, it is not unusual for a number of singers and bands to do a cover of a particular song and the actual history of the song becomes sort of a tangled web.

Well, we are in September. So far, the weather is good and the days are peaceful for me .... I hope it is that way for you, too, Smareis, and I hope the month will continue to be like that for both of us. As for my blog, as I wrote in my last note, time will tell .... time usually answers most questions, so we shall wait and see if I continue it or if I flee from it. As I also wrote then: "I do still hope to find another 'incarnation' before I fade off into oblivion."

Take care, stay safe, remember to think of me now and then .... and thank you, for the handful of smiles. Your smile always brightens my life ....

Something special ....